Venues- Antigua



By Kris Costa


Antigua and its parishes are home to some of the world’s most magnificent beaches! White sand, crystal blue water, and picturesque sunsets abound on this beautiful island. But that’s not all.

Antigua has something for everyone. A popular cruise ship destination, the port city of St. John will not disappoint, as it offers brand name shopping on Market Street as well as island original creations on the streets which extend past this port street center. The bustling duty free port is known for glistening jewelry, fabulous beach attire and colorful island creations. Additionally, Antigua boasts many historical landmarks and local points of interest. A quick drive through the local parishes will quickly endear a feeling of belonging as one can see children walking from school, local businesses in action, and even a game or two of soccer amidst the islands sugar cane plantations.

Hotels are plentiful along Antigua’s gorgeous coastlines and range from quiet and personal to teeming with activity. If your choice is to spoil yourself with activity based accommodations, water sports or sailing, Antigua has it. If your whim is more in line with complete relaxation amongst beautiful flora and romantic charming moonlit dinner, Antigua has that too. Whatever your preference, Antigua’s enticing turquoise waters will beckon your every call. All is yours on this fantastic island which offers many activities in an unpretentious atmosphere. Never obtrusive, simply available to tend to your every need, Antigua’s most endearing resource is its people. Charming, accommodating, playful, polite, seeing them is like coming home. On an island where there is virtually nothing left to wish for, Antigua’s friendly people top off the most wonderful of experiences. You will arrive a stranger and leave with friends, and you will always remember their smiles.

A r t w o r k , c u l t u r e , m u s i c, entertainment, restaurants, even a casino make this island a superb choice for every vacation taste. For those of you who just cannot bear to depart this lovely island, there are still a varied amounts of land acquisition opportunities. Hmmmm, now there’s a thought.

No stranger to the pallet, Antigua local cuisine is mouthwatering. Typical local dishes include salt fish, eggplant, local lobster, a variety of vegetables, seasoned rice scalloped potatoes and plantains. Antiguan butter bread is a main staple, with its soft buttery flavor. The bread pudding is not to be missed for dessert!

There is nothing quite like an outdoor massage while the trade winds blow, and Antigua’s hotels will pamper you at your whim. At their organically appointed spas, some even constructed in Gauguin cottages on stilts and draped with crisp white curtains blowing in the breeze, Antigua spas take indulgence to a new level. Of course, Antiguans are just as happy to bring comfy tables, linens and oils to your room terrace to provide your spa service as you listen to the waves break on powdery shores.

Antigua’s sister island, Barbuda, is 27 miles off Antigua’s North Coast. This coral fringed island is renowned for its tranquility, crystalline waters, deserted beaches and lobster. Easily accessible from Antigua aboard the Barbuda Express ferry, or an any other number of boating options, Barbuda can also be reached in less than 10 minutes via VC Bird international airport.

Article continues…. Pgs. 15-16


“If-Then” Self-Defense

if-thenI am always interested in the studies of crime statistics, probabilities and scenarios. Certainly these studies yield important information and can act as prediction indicators of the occurrence of crime but the information they gather, simply put, are generalities. IF such and such is in place, THEN we may assume that x,y,z will follow. Basically, when it comes to crime indicators, I think the if-then scenario concludes the following predictability reliability: Sometimes. When it comes to predicting whether or not a certain person will commit a violent crime one must consider the individual with their ever changing experiences, chemistry and soul status. I am sure that even the most organic of us cannot predict with any certainty what another will do from one moment to the next.

No one is immune from crime. If we were, we wouldn’t need all those statistics, probabilities and studies to predict its occurrence in the first place. Life itself is an “if-then” scenario. If we are in the path of any number of scenarios that manifest into a violent crime, then we must know what to do. Danger is always brewing somewhere.

In terms of safety, we simply are safe until we are not. Sounds simple but it is true. Here’s another if-then scenario to think about. If you learn nothing, then you will know nothing. Although our basic instinct may be to survive in the face of danger, that often is not enough to actually survive. It is not enough to want to survive if you don’t know how.

Logically speaking, there are just too many threatening scenarios to think about preparing for. At the end of the day, we live with so many risks all around us that it just doesn’t make sense to consider them all and wonder which one we will most probably have to deal with. We rely on studies and statistics, to make educated choices about our safety based on our best guess of where we fit into those statistics and that is helpful, however, crime doesn’t always make sense therefore statistics can not be 100% accurate and only so much of our society can be patrolled at once.

Simply put you will never really know what is coming your way until it is happening.

The only thing we can really rely on is ourselves. The best defense to the myriad of risks that ebb and flow around each of our interactions in life is to know where we stand within them. By it’s very nature, violence is not a predictable event. If it were, no one would become a victim, and clearly, there are victims of violent crime every day all day long.

What safety really becomes is another if-then scenario. Simply put, if I am attacked, then I need to know what to do to survive. If I know what to do then it doesn’t really matter if I am attacked. I know how to defend myself so I will.  That skill will help me get out of trouble. It is the same way that I approach renting a car at the airport. If I know how to drive, then it really doesn’t matter what make or model they hand me the keys to.  If I know how to drive, then I will and increase my chances or arriving safely because I have the basic skill. You cannot always predict which threat in life you will have to deal with, but if you know how to protect yourself, then your chances of survival increase no matter what situation you find yourself in. But only if you have the skills.

We are not born with appropriate self-defends strategies because the nature of threats against us change with the climate of the era. However, it is essential that we do learn to protect ourselves because we never know which situation we will be handed. Without skills, we live a life of chance of which threat we may actually encounter, and common sense tells us that it is not a matter of If, but a matter of when.


Mindset Self-Defenese offers workshops, products and a cutting edge magazine dedicated to the self-defense, personal protection and safety of women. Learn more at


Domestic Abuse & Brainwashing


written by

Ellie Izzo, PhD, LPC and
Vicki Carpel Miller, BSN, MS, LMFT

Domestic Abuse is an umbrella term that covers different dimensions of abusive relationships: verbal, emotional, physical, and spiritual. It is important to understand and recognize the traits of an abuser as well as the traits of being in the victim position in order to transform into healthy change. Here are some of the traits of an abusive partner:

• Competitive with his/her
• Quick with comebacks or put-downs
• Controlling
• Critical
• Lack of compassion
• Extreme
• Unable to be empathic
• Has difficulty listening
• Irritable
• Hostile
• Angers easily
• Shuts Down/goes dark
• Acts like a nice person to others
• Often is involved in one or more addictions

After living with this type of personality over time, the victim begins to experience a form of brainwashing. Here are the characteristics of brainwashing:
1. Omnipotence – the abuser behaves like he/she has all the power
2. Futility of the situation – the victim Is led to believe there is no way out
3. Threats – the abuser intimidates and undermines the confidence of the victim
4. Isolation – the victim is frequently barred from having outside attachments
5. Occasional Crumb – once in a while the abuser does something nice to keep the victim believing that things are going to improve.

Here is an example of the abusive system: Bill and Mary were married for three years and were very involved in their church activities. Bill was extremely jealous if Mary wanted to do any activity outside of work or the church, and would become threatened, and would proceed to “brainwash” his wife. Let’s look at the brainwashing cycle using Bill and Mary as an example.

1. Omnipotence – Bill was an elder in the church and wielded his power as a Godlike figure. He would speak down to Mary and criticize her imperfections.
2. Futility of the situation – Bill would denigrate Mary’s looks, her lack of education, and her confidence; often saying things like, “no one would ever want you.”
3. Threats – Bill would threaten that if Mary left him, she would be damned by the congregation and banned from the church, her primary support system.
4. Isolation – Bill prohibited Mary from being away from him by tormenting her with constant calls and texts when she was away from the home.
5. Occasional Crumb – when Bill sensed that Mary was maxed out from his abusive behavior, he would switch gears and temporarily act like the partner she always wished he would be.

If any of these red flags apply to you, please remember what you deserve to experience in your relationship:

• To communicate and feel heard and respected for your thoughts and feelings
• To feel safe and acceptable just as you are
• To not suffer personal attacks.To be able to accept constructive feedback without feeling worthless.
• To receive a genuine, heartfelt apology,without caveats or conditions.
• To be with a partner who can take responsibility for his/her anger and communicate it in a constructive way that serves to bring you closer together.
• The right to say “no.”
• The freedom to grow and experience outside interests.

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, you will need help to debrief from the brainwashing and guidance to lead you out of the fog of conflict. Please seek the appropriate support and you will find your strength and renew your faith in yourself.


Emotional Abuse

Understanding Emotional Abuse 

Emotional Abuse

Read more about Domestic Abuse in our March Issue of Mindset



Scamming Season!


With tax season upon us, it’s time to turn our attention to the risk of scammers! Scamming take many forms but during tax season, be on the lookout for phony emails, phone emails and phone calls. These scammers mimic the IRS and very convincingly ask for private information. Often times the threat is under the guise of you receiving checks in the form of additional refunds, economic stimulus checks or other bogus monies. Don’t believe them! It is your account they are looking to access to give themselves a little extra cash!

Remember! The IRS will never contact someone by email, and if you are so tempted to open one that is sent to you, you may just end up with a virus. Do not open! If you are truly receiving a tax refund, you will receive a notice in the mail.

If you do get a call from someone saying they are from the IRS, ask for their badge number and call back. You can call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040. The IRS never needs to ask for PIN numbers or passwords. If they need access to your bank account, they can just do it.

Be safe and smart during tax season and stay a step ahead of these scammers!!!

3/1- Women’s Self-Defense Workshop Photos

The women who participated in the workshop alongside trainer David Bravo and his helper.
The women who participated in the workshop alongside trainer David Bravo and his helper.

The Women’s Self-Defense Workshop on March 1, 2014 was such an empowering experience. Throughout the workshop participants became aware of several things;

1. There are so many misconceptions when it comes to self-defense & attacks against women.For example, the neighborhood is safe, using common sense will prevent attacks, and there is no way to get away from a stonger attacker,therefore compliance is best.

2. How to utilize tactical thinking instead of emotional thinking( getting past the anxiety) in life-like scenarios.

3. How to establish strong verbal boundaries and portray confidence so that we are not seen as a victim and therefore are less likely to become a victim.

4. That women have so many weapons to utilize if we are faced with an attack that have nothing to do with size, weight,or strength. We can do damage by using tactics like knee kicks, open handed hits, scratching ( we have nails!), biting, poking eyes etc.

Mindset's new Personal Assistant (left of trainer David Bravo) along with two other women who participated in the workshop
Mindset’s new Personal Assistant (left of trainer David Bravo) along with two other women who participated in the workshop
A participant practicing the "Knee-Kick" tactic taught in the workshop.
A participant practicing the “Knee-Kick” tactic taught in the workshop.

Erin Go Bragh


As green day approaches, lets take a moment to talk about awareness and safety!

  1. Pack light! Whether doing the pub crawl or visiting a house party, bring only your drivers license (or a designated driver!), a few bucks in your pocket and your cell phone.
  2. Beware of pick pockets and other hoodlums if attending a parade (situational awareness is the key here).
  3. If you are the designated driver (DD) be aware of those that are swaying around you, either in a vehicle or on foot!
  4. Consider public transportation.
  5. Avoid being alone, use the buddy system.
  6. Don’t drink on an empty stomach, eat and drink lots of water before and during the festivities
  7. Don’t EVER leave a drink unattended!
  8. Find the phone number of a reputable taxi company before you go out, just in case.

These are just a few pointers.

Have a great time and stay safe out there!!

Ultimate Self-Defense


Imagine you had the ability to embark on a journey into a brave new world, one in which you have never seen or heard of, one in which you do not speak the language and no one even really resembles you. The purpose of your journey is to navigate this new world, its terrain and elements, master its’ inhabitants’ language, and align with its’ culture. If successful, you have would have the opportunity to experience a new world full of natural beauty, empathetic compassion, soulful inter-connection and a myriad of physical sensations. Additionally, this new adventure holds the potential to learn skills and concepts beyond your current imagination. Your mind would expand exponentially. Best of all, this new environment is one full of hope, excitement and support where you can live, learn, grow and love in peace and safety. 

What would you feel like and how would you behave once you have returned from your journey? How would it change you? Would you want your loved ones to go to the same place and have the same experience that you had? Would you dedicate your time and effort in assisting with their ability to journey as you did?

The fact is that we, as human beings, have already made the jump into that journey.

The day before you were born, you were very much alive. You did not breathe as you do now, but absorbed your oxygen and nutrients from the fluid that surrounded you. What you heard of the sounds of the world, and whatever you could see, also first passed through this same fluid. You had virtually no control of your body, knew nothing of the new world’s language, and had no idea what another human being even looked like. The journey you were on was completely foreign. If there were a way to infuse the knowledge to the vulnerable you that in 24 hours you would be breathing not water, but air for oxygen, eating food, learning the basics of a foreign language, navigate obstacles, see, hear and feel through new, yet undiscovered senses, in a land you could not even imagine, life would certainly at that point be utterly and completely unrecognizable to you. Yet, that is what ear  and every one of us have done. Our truth and very existence changed in yet a few precious moments. I wonder how many of us would  have in fact been brave and courageous enough to have been born, if given the choice?

There are other times in history where truths have changed. In Galileo’s time, the truth of the world was that its’ surface was flat. If we traveled to the “edge,” it was believed we would simply fall off into an endless abyss. Today we all know that concept was not the truth, simply “the truth of the time” and what the masses believed in, so for a while, it became their truth. What kind of spirit, fortitude, and belief in oneself, must it have taken for his theories to be pushed through until proven.

Then there were the myriad of courageous explorers in days gone by who traveled and colonized new lands. Armed with tools, ships and the like, their beliefs and sheer will were probably among their most important assets to continue onward. They just kept pushing forward toward a new world, a new life, and new truths. 

The funny thing about some truths, is that they are not just there waiting to be discovered. There is no concrete substance to a truth that one seeks and then finds. Truth exists only in the minds of those who believe it, and the resulting culture is the manifestation of those thoughts and beliefs. Truth is evidenced into existence through action and behavior.

Fast forward to 2014 and our cultures have their own sets of current truths. One truth is that we live in a place of much beauty. Our lands are graced with natural beauty from majestic mountains to red rock canyons to turquoise waters and pure sandy beaches. We are blessed with an abundance of colors, changing and blending constantly everywhere, different species of life to live amongst and learn from, and the power of self-renewing passion and inner strength, that we can draw from and share with others of our own kind. Yet, there are other truths. The truths that some subscribe to that cause humans to choose to kill each other, imprison each other, torment, deny, and destroy each other. Clearly the former are simply supplied to us, luckily we come by such beauty naturally. Violence is always a choice. One that begins in the mind, out of fear.

The day before we were born we had no choice, and we had no fear, only progression. There was only one way to go, forward, and why not? Hopefully, that transition was into loving arms and a new beautiful world full of hope and possibility. That was the truth for some people, and not for others. Clearly then there is no one truth, and the only thing we can control is ourselves. There is only your truth that you bring to the world through your thoughts and your actions. This is our choice as human beings.

What would you choose if you had no fear? What could you become? Would you choose to shine with beauty as a gift to all those around you if you knew you would be accepted? Would you, like Galileo, take the natural gifts in front of us and pursue new ways to interpret and combine these elements to open up the boundaries of our environment? Or maybe it is simply enough to see the need in just one other person, and respond. If you are reading this, you probably have been around long enough to figure out, that there are many improvements we can make in the way we are living today and we could all use a little more grace.

No one asked you years ago if you were brave and courageous enough to leave the only home you ever knew and be born alone into a strange new one.Today, however, you can ask yourself if you are brave enough to choose a new attitude of enlightened empowerment, enhanced encouragement, deeper consideration, empathy, kindness, and support. If we did accept this challenge, that would certainly be the ultimate form of self-defense, because we simply would not need any.

How brave will you be in 2014?

Bujutsu – The Way of The Japanese Warrior by Jill Roth

I came in looking for Ninjitsu, but, left with a glimpse at an entire Japanese Martial Art system. The way of the Japanese warrior is actually a combination of many paths. At the Budo Shingikan Dojo the students are guided along five of them, through the system of Bushin Ryu Aiki Bujutsu. This literally translates as “Authentic Style of War Arts Utilizing Harmonious Blending of Energy”. At first glance those concepts may seem to be at war with each other, but as I learned, that is the beauty and balance of this art. ( From the moment I chatted with Shannon on the phone I knew we were in good hands. She asked that we arrive 30 minutes early so we could have a tour of the school and be assigned a student to “shadow”. This student would help us a along the way through the class so that we could blend comfortably into the class and learn some basics. She then further shared that we should wear long pants and a t-shirt to be most comfortable in the class. I took Kris Costa, our favorite Editor, along for the adventure.


Entering the dojo was a study in balance. Dedeuc D’Antonoli Kaiso proudly shared that they moved into their new location about a year and a half ago. It is the perfect combination of spacious 21st century warehouse and feudal Japanese simplicity. We were only 10 minutes into the tour when Kaiso demonstrated the intricacies of his art. We were chatting about AiKi, the study of the marriage between body structure and energy. After carefully listening to a question of mine, he clarified with a simple demonstration. He asked me to stand in a typical martial arts front stance with my hand extended in a punch. After I complied he pushed on my extended hand. I noted the familiar concussion as the jarring energy pushed me backwards and my body attempted to accommodate by exerting pressure of it’s own. Next, he asked if he could move my body a little. With my permission he then rotated my hand position about 20 degrees and bent my elbow in. Again, he struck my hand. I was riveted, as I realized my body didn’t have to absorb any of the energy, and I felt his impact flow right out of my right heel into the floor. I had read before about Japanese martial artists wanting to emulate an “immovable mountain”. At 128 lbs, I didn’t think I had an immovable anything. It wasn’t my strength or powerful resistance, rather, the structure of my stance and body position by which the energy flowed right through me.

I was hooked!

Back in the front office we were filling out permission forms when we were introduced to Jim. Jim is referred to as Senpai (sen-pie). In class, he is the highest ranking student. We were to shadow Jim throughout our class. Senpai did a masterful job of guiding us through the ins and outs of the lesson, while gently educating us on the culture and etiquette of the dojo

The first thing I noted upon entering the dojo was the silence. Students are encouraged to remain quiet and I was moved by the centering affect this granted. Before the class the students lined up by rank and knelt in Seiza (say-za). This is a position where you kneel on both knees with your feet tucked under your bottom. We bowed in as each student mindfully placed their left and then right hand on the floor and bowed their head towards their hands. Then, equally mindful, placed their right hand and then left back onto their thighs. We bowed to the front of the room and then to the Sensei. The students recited several words in Japanese. Kaiso then asked one of the students to lead the class in warm ups. It was clear to me that this would be considerably different than classes I had been to before. Rather than warming up with jumping jacks and stretch kicks, we focused more on wrist and hip limbering techniques. Almost all of the stretches were static and each student was responsible to stay within their own limits. We stretched in unison as the leading student counted out the moves. The commands were spoken in Japanese and I was told the students are taught these through a student guide and practice.

Freshly warmed up, we moved onto Ukemi (ooh-kim-e) – tumbling. As new students, Senpai took us to the side and taught us forward rolls. I was guessing that these were designed to make me feel as uncoordinated and humble as possible! However Kaiso, explained that they are actually a very important way to teach us how to fall. He shared that living in such a safe area, we are more likely to get hurt by slipping and falling than by being attacked. Falling gracefully and without injury is an important skill. Senpai’s demonstration did look like a graceful flow of skirts and limbs. My rolls, well, …. not so much.

Next, Kaiso gathered us back into a straight line kneeling in seiza. I noted that if students became uncomfortable in this position that they would bow and then quietly move into a cross-legged position for more comfort. Kaiso asked Senpai to come to the front of the class and they demonstrated an attack with it’s counter move. It was an artful escape and countering control technique one could use if an attacker had both hands held behind you. D’Antonoli Kaiso demonstrated that it wasn’t a tug-of-war between you and your attacker. If there is no conflict, there can be nothing for your attacker to move against. He flowed masterfully out of the grab and Senpai ended up on the ground.


We paired off and attempted to emulate the technique. This was my favorite part of the entire experience. Sensei would visit each pair and make minute changes that made all the difference in the world. He would gladly repeat the technique with you until you could see the differences. In other martial arts schools I have practically felt the testosterone rolling off my instructor as he made the students “comply”. Often times it seemed to me that the students would submit just to stop the pain. This was not like that. Never for a moment did I feel negative energy flowing from Kaiso or Senpai. It was clear that their goal was to share this knowledge until you truly “got it” and without conflict. I felt as if they were effortlessly guiding me through the lesson. It was like the gentle swish swish you feel and hear as you ski down a gentle mountain slope.

Each time we partnered up to practice we would say “Ome gai shimasu”. This is a way of saying that you are trusting your partner with your body and your theirs. You are both sacrificing your body’s security for the potential learning of your partner. Before returning to the line up, each partner says “domo arigato’. Which means “thank you, very much.” After each technique I felt the pride of victory and achievement. Not because I had overpowered, or outmatched my partner, but because we had travelled down this path together.

Later, as Kaiso was demonstrating a technique to me, he explained “I then help my partner to the ground”. I laughed at this, and joked about “how kind he was”. He acknowledged my mirth, but then shared, that this is actually an important point. “Forcing” your opponent to the floor holds a much different feel and energy than “helping” them to the floor. Practitioners of his art, always strive for the absence of “fighting mind” and internal centering is a big part of this. It was interesting to me that there wasn’t any “kihaps” (yells) in the dojo. Ki-haps are used in other martial arts to harness and release your energy during the time of impact. Of course in Bujutsu there is no “point of impact”. The dojo is flush with quiet and centered energy.

Kaiso then called us back to line up and showed us what to do after we had “helped our opponent to the floor”. Again, we paired off and practiced the technique. And, again Senpai insured that I actually understood it. There was no veil of mysticism that would be raised after years of study. He helped me understand it right.


D’Antonoli Kaiso called us back to the line up to have a chat about Chudo (chew-doe) — The way of the middle. He asked the students to put this into their own words. I heard, “balance”, “no extremes”, “taking the center path”. Kaiso expanded upon these definitions. In the martial arts you may have two extremes. For example, you may have one martial art that is teaching you to rip someone’s arm off and take it home for dinner. At the other extreme, a martial art that is completely defensive and would never hurt another. Rather, he spoke of taking the middle path. Not constantly moving through life looking for, and interpreting, signs of an attack. And, not moving through life shying from all attacks and cowering. Rather moving through life with expectations of peace and a willingness to defend oneself if necessary. D’Antonoli Kaiso had explained during our introductory tour that there are five tips that each student must demonstrate to earn their next belt rank. And, like a star, each of these five points need to be equally developed in order to be a complete and well rounded Japanese warrior. They are:

1. Yellow Tip – Koppo Jutsu – punching and kicking techniques,

2. Blue Tip – Jujutsu – grappling/joint locks and chokes,

3. Purple Tip – Aiki no Jutsu – internal components, body mapping and body architecture (structure),

4. Brown Tip – Kobujutsu – weapons – they focus on sword, staff and knife,

5. Black Tip – Martial concepts, principles and philosophies.

Our final lesson of the evening was one in energy. Kaiso invited Senpai up to the front of the class to try and “push him over”. They were both kneeling on the ground, facing each other, with their knees planted wide. Senpai would push against Kaiso and Kaiso would flip him around on the floor with little or no effort. D’Antonoli Kaiso explained that he had no conflict with Senpai. That his mind was actually behind him and that he let the energy flow right through him so there would be no “point of conflict.” Dutifully impressed, we set off with our partners to practice this mystical art.

Guess what? It worked! Again, I had that feeling of complete immovability. I wasn’t “fighting” against Senpai’s force. Rather, I just focused my energy behind him. And, when it was my turn to push against Senpai, it felt absolutely useless. Because I could tell I was actually just pushing him harder into the mat. The only one pushing was me.


We lined up by rank a final time and knelt again in seiza. Kaiso made a couple of school announcements and we mindfully bowed out. What an amazing lesson! After class each of the classmates came up and shook our hands and introduced themselves. It was clear that the dojo was a family and we were welcomed in with open arms. What a wonderful adventure!


Tis The Season

My Dear Friends:

It never cease to amaze me the amount of energy that is put into making this joyful and meaningful holiday season as frenetic as it possibly can be in the endless effort to make it “perfect”.  It’s amazing how people will beat each other out to purchase  the “perfect” gift, secure the “closest” parking spot or prepare the “perfect” meal. Ever notice how the tensions rise around this time of the year? I cannot tell you how many times in the last few weeks, I have seen people cut each other off in parking lots, in retail shops and in grocery stores. Why? So they wouldn’t miss out on getting “the best” of whatever it is? And Heaven forbid the thought that an establishment just might be out of stock on a particular item or size. Clearly, this is the only day in life where one can enjoy whatever it is that they are fighting for. When children become afraid on line in a store because someone ahead of them is throwing a fit for an out of sock item, I would say that emotions are running a little on the high strung side. So, at the risk of sounding like a humbug, I am offering the following tips:

  1. Expect to run into people who are rude, hasty, obnoxious and self-centered AND have a plan before hand to deal with them. Whether it is a parking spot or other disputed item (even when it is clear that you are in line for it), decide before hand what battles you will pick, how you will respond (if at all) and where you will draw the line in an escalation. Remember, any one  who is so attached to something transient that they are willing to behave like a locomotive on a crash course for it, probably could use a hip check on their own life in the first place. Don’t be their brick wall. Let something else stop them in their tracks. You have a life.
  2. Watch yourself in parking lots. They are very dangerous assault areas. Don’t park in isolated areas, and shop at times that make sense so you are not the only one in the parking lot. When leaving your vehicle, LOCK IT, and walk briskly to where you need to be. When approaching your car, look underneath it from a distance. Look into the back seat before you get in. Have your keys ready, throw your purchases inside, get in and LEAVE. Don’t make a phone call, send a text, check your Facebook, rummage through your bag, mark off a checklist., etc.  Do these things before you leave the store.
  3. Watch yourself at ATM’s. Supermarket ATM’s are better than the bank’s isolated ones if you need cash after business hours. Supermarkets are open later, and you will be in plain sight of others. Put your cash away before walking to your car.
  4. Keep an eye on your kids, especially in crowded areas. If your kids are cranky or screaming while shopping, it may be best to arrange to go without them. Screaming children infuriate most people on a good day.
  5. Scan your exit points in stores. Know a way out whenever in any public building.
  6. Don’t let yourself be distracted. Be in tune to the environment, especially in crowded areas.
  7. If you see something weird, say something to someone in authority.

Remember, the holidays are not warm and fuzzy for everyone. There are those who have suffered great loss, are alone, destitute or depressed who see festivities as a stark contrast to their perception of their own lives. People do strange things around the holidays, sometimes dangerous things. Give people a break, you never know what they are dealing with and what may set them off.  Stay low key while getting your tasks accomplished. Just get in, get what you need and get out. Spend your time where it really counts, with the people you love.

Above all, trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, it probably isn’t. I cannot stress the importance of considering a self-defense class. If you consider yourself in a confrontation, think of how much better you would feel if you had more confidence and skills to deal with the situation, not only for yourself, but for any children or loved ones you may be out and about with.

All things being equal, most enjoy the holidays without a hitch, but emotion does run high this time of year. Don’t be caught up in the frenzy, pay attention, and stay safe.

Happy Holidays


You Are Worth Defending!


So what are we all about here at MSSD? Are we aggressive, headstrong, adrenaline junkies just looking to change the world? Actually, yes, when it comes to protecting you and your loved ones, you bet!

So why are the people behind MSSD on this mission? We are on this mission because you are special. Emotions and creativity, expressed through our bodies and capabilities, are worth defending and in this far from perfect world (whatever that is) there are people creating circumstance to take those very concepts away. We are not OK with that.

So what is worth defending? Your freedom is worth defending. Your freedom to live your life in this world any way you like, as long as you are not dangerous to others or yourself while in the journey. Freedom from judgments, harassment, emotional harm, physical violence. The freedom to be who you are. Without these freedoms and others like them, we are not living fully, but just existing, moving from place to place like the quarter in the shell game, pushed and directed from another’s motivation. Usually, their motivation is not inline with our true selves. Then we are cheated, and so is the world.

When you go to bed at night, you close and lock your doors, (hopefully). You do this because you need to be protected while you sleep, so your mind can relax and your body can replenish while you settle. You need to be safe in this place, so you can wake up in the morning and be all that you can be. Our bodies are our shells, and if we don’t learn the skills we need to keep them safe, how will we share our unique selves with our loved ones and the world?

So those of us behind Mindset want to help you make your self-protection a more natural process. We are not going to persuade you into taking a fight into the world. Far from it. What we want is for you to be free to be who you are, so you can help make this world a better place. And, we want to give you tools, to protect your precious self, because there is not one person in this world who has a right to take you, your loved ones, or your freedoms away!